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Formula 1

Red Bull ‘need to be dealt with’ as FIA urged to come down hard on budget punishment

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown wants to see the FIA take “swift” action on punishing Red Bull for their breach of last year’s budget cap. After delaying their review into last year’s financial reports from every F1 team, the FIA announced that Red Bull were the only team to commit a ‘minor overspend’ of the £114million budget cap.

Speculation emerged ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix that Red Bull had overspent with some reports stating that figure was close to £10m. Rival team bosses gave their thoughts on the matter with Christian Horner staunchly defending the team against the “unacceptable” accusations.

The actual discrepancy is believed to be around £1.8m, but that has still caused uproar in the F1 paddock. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff didn’t agree with the wording of Red Bull’s breach, saying: “Is it a so-called minor breach? Because I think the word is probably not correct.”

Red Bull reacted to the findings, expressing their “surprise and disappointment” before doubling down on their belief they stayed within the budget. But Brown feels the FIA’s cost cap process has been clear from day one and believes any team who were in breach deserve to be punished.

“Bottom line is we had a dry run for a year,” he told the RACER. “The FIA have been unbelievably collaborative, communicative and clear.

“And if anything was unclear then the obligation was on the teams to ask. The FIA has done a really good job on the cost cap, and you can go to them and ask them anything: ‘Hey, is this included? Is this not included?’

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“And when you go over budget you go over budget, so it needs to be dealt with swiftly and transparently.” He added: “I think it’s now all about how (the FIA) handle it moving forward.

“Everyone’s kind of like, ‘Well, they haven’t had transparency’ but it’s not over yet. I think we can’t judge them on their transparency… It was good that they said, ‘It’s not coming on Wednesday, it’s going to come on Monday’ — they were clear.

“Transparency doesn’t necessarily mean, ‘I give you all the answers tomorrow,’ it’s, ‘I give you visibility of what’s coming.’ I think we’re not done yet, so I think it’s too early to judge them until we see the final results.”

Formula 1

Lando Norris fires Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen warning – ‘I do get frustrated’

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Formula 1 star Lando Norris has issued a strong warning to his rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Norris has announced himself as one of Formula 1’s hottest prospects since making his burst into the sport in 2019 as a 19-year-old for McLaren.

Since then the British driver has become one of the most recognised and respected faces in the paddock despite only being 22 years old. Since his debut Norris has found himself on the podium six times. In 2021, the McLaren man claimed his maiden pole in Russia, but was unable to covnert his weekend into a victory.

This campaign Norris and his McLaren team have sturggled to stamp their authority on the grid, with the 22-year-old having just one podium finish to his name at Imola in April. Despite the sticky patch in 2022, Norris has warned his Formula 1 rivals that he and McLaren will be out challenging for victories in the not too distant future.

Targetting 2024, the Brit said, as quoted by motorsportweek.com: “I would say even between 2022 to 2023 I’m not expecting realistically a win or a couple of wins. For me my confidence is in 2024 and 2025, and until then I

“There’s still times where you could achieve a win, even with Daniel [Ricciardo] last year achieving a win, and me almost having pole in Austria, having pole in Russia, almost winning Russia – those things can come along the way.

“Even when [Esteban] Ocon wins and [Pierre] Gasly wins, those moments can come, but until genuinely being in a position where I can say ‘There’s now more excuses and we want to win genuinely rather than with a bit of luck because certain things happen’, that time is in 2024 and 2025.”

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Calling for patience, he went on: “Until then it’s a patience game, which is not the nicest thing because I do get frustrated, like this year we’re not as competitive as what we want to be.So is the whole team, like James [Key] and everyone understands we should have taken a step forward this year and if anything we are a little bit back from where we were.”

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Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton landed Red Bull with ‘£1.6m bill’ as FIA mull penalty for budget cap breach p breach

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An incident involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last season reportedly landed Red Bull with a hefty £1.6million bill, which naturally contributed to their ‘minor’ budget cap breach. Christian Horner and co are still waiting to discover their punishment after the FIA released their verdict earlier this week.

Speculation has circulated on how Red Bull managed to exceed the £114m spending cap imposed by the FIA last season. They were found to be in ‘minor’ breach of the limit, which could mean anything up to £5.7m.

Reports put their overspend at just under the £2m mark and Hamilton’s crash with Verstappen at Silverstone in 2021 certainly won’t have helped Red Bull’s efforts to stay under the permitted amount.

In a frantic opening lap, the Brit sparked fury in the Red Bull camp by trying an audacious move up the inside of Verstappen at Copse Corner, only to make contact with the Dutchman and send him flying into the barriers at high speed.

He was sent to hospital for precautionary checks as Hamilton was handed a time penalty for his role in the collision, but the Mercedes ace went on to win the race anyway and close the gap on his rival, who started the race as the clear Championship leader.

According to Crash.net, the Red Bull write-off would have cost the team in the region of £1.6m. Reports suggest that Red Bull’s alleged breach is also due to differences of interpretation regarding sick pay and catering.

“What I can say is I remember last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bringing upgrades. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point.

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“If we spent £300,000 on a new floor, or adapted a wing, it would have changed the outcome of the championship naturally because we would have been in better competition in the next race if you add it on. So, I hope that that’s not the case. I do believe Mohammed [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] and the FIA will do what is right with whatever they find out.”

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Formula 1

Max Verstappen surprised Red Bull with ‘unexpected’ move to beat Lewis Hamilton to title

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Christian Horner has admitted Max Verstappen surprised him and his Red Bull team with his tactics in his Abu Dhabi epic with Lewis Hamilton last season. Verstappen overtook Hamilton on the last lap to win the 2021 Formula One Drivers’ Championship in contentious circumstances.

The FIA have since admitted a ‘human error’ helped Verstappen triumph over Hamilton after race director Michael Masi allowed the lapped cars in between the two drivers to overtake the safety car. Those lapped drivers behind Verstappen were not able to unlap themselves, however.

On fresh tyres, Verstappen was able to get past Hamilton in their last-lap shootout for the title and claim his first ever world championship. Red Bull team principal Horner admitted the team were surprised, as was Hamilton, by the Dutchman’s overtake.

Speaking on the Diary of a CEO podcast, Horner explained: “We went into Abu Dhabi equal on points, with Max being ahead by virtue of race victories. Mercedes had gone there with barristers because they were convinced that Max was just going to drive into Lewis on the first lap, and they’d be arguing it out with the stewards.

“But we qualified on pole, and then for the majority of that race, we felt that decisions went against us at the beginning of the race because Max had made a pass, and Lewis had cut the chicane, but he wasn’t told to give the position back.

“And everything we tried in that race… it felt like it was slipping away, so what was going through my mind was like, ‘how am I going to pick the guys up? You know, afterwards, what am I going to say to Max after such an intense season like this? What am I going to say to them?’

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“And then suddenly, it just shows that anything can happen in life, a window of opportunity presented itself with one of the backmarkers crashing. And you know, we had to be on our feet. We took risks, we made the pitstop, we bolted on the new set of tires, and Mercedes went defensive and conservative.

“And that gave us a window of opportunity to challenge for one racing lap. And with a fresh set of tires and Max Verstappen in your car, he was going to go for it. So then he pulled the move off at a corner that we completely unexpected, and I think Lewis totally unexpected it because he left the door open trying to get a good exit onto the straight. It was like, ‘oh my God’, and then you’re going down the street.

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Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton congratulated on ‘2021 title win’ as FIA backed to make ‘easy decision’

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Lewis Hamilton has been congratulated for winning last year’s world title, despite the FIA not yet reaching a decision on how to punish Red Bull over their alleged cost cap breach. Rich Energy, who had a short-lived partnership with Haas and a brush with other F1 teams, addressed the Brit on social media while calling for the sport’s governing body to take action.

Rich Energy, owned by controversial CEO William Storey, attempted to buy Sahara Force India in 2018 before negotiating with Williams and eventually striking a partnership with Haas. It proved to be shortlived, however, as the sponsorship came to a sour end with Haas’ 2019 F1 car compared to a milk float.

While Storey has openly discussed aspirations to once again become involved in F1, Rich Energy have weighed in on the current cost cap saga. Red Bull are alleged to be in ‘minor’ breach of last season’s £114million budget cap, which could mean an overspend of up to £5.7m.

The FIA are yet to decide which penalties Red Bull will face but there has been talk, however unlikely, of a points deduction leading to Hamilton being handed last year’s world title.

The Brit and Max Verstappen could hardly be separated as the Red Bull ace edged his first Championship in stunning fashion via a final-lap Abu Dhabi shootout. With decisive action yet to be taken, Rich Energy appear to have jumped the gun by congratulating Hamilton and Mercedes on social media.

“An easy decision for the FIA now,” read the Tweet. “It is imperative that the integrity of the great sport of Formula One is maintained. Congratulations Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes AMG on a well-deserved world title in 2021.”

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The message was posted along with a video of F1 chief Ross Brawn who, back in 2019, said: “If you fraudulently breach the financial regulations, you will be losing your Championship.” Red Bull boss Christian Horner insists that his team’s finances were above board and believes that the breach will be due to misinterpretation on a number of items.

Some feel as though spending over the limit last year will have given Red Bull a headstart going into the current season. Verstappen has dominated throughout, sealing his second title in Japan on Sunday while Hamilton called on the FIA to do the right thing by explaining the advantage brought by further car improvements.

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Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton ‘may reject’ FIA’s Red Bull penalty if Max Verstappen ends up keeping title

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Three-time Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert suggests that Lewis Hamilton may be unable to accept a penalty imposed by the FIA on Red Bull if Max Verstappen ends up keeping his world title. The FIA’s investigation into potential cost cap breaches has been extended until Monday with the initial deadline set for Wednesday this week.

Red Bull and Aston Martin are speculated to be the two teams who may have breached the spending cap last season. The FIA introduced the £114million limit to make F1 more financially sustainable and give smaller teams a better chance of competing with the heavy hitters.

Team boss Christian Horner insists that Red Bull have done nothing wrong and a breach would only have been by an insignificant amount. Hamilton, however, has stated that any team found to have operated outside of the regulations should be punished accordingly after he lost a narrow title battle to Verstappen last season.

“I do get [where Lewis is coming from],” said Herbert. “We don’t know what the situation is at the present time, hopefully Monday is when we really know. But I can understand from a driver’s point of view.

“You put your heart and soul into trying to put on the best performances you can within the cockpit, to go as fast you possibly can. Then you hear the rumours that maybe someone has overspent. Then we know if that’s the case there’s going to be an advantage from that.

“When that advantage is something you hear about and maybe know about, it makes it harder to accept certain situations that have happened in the past or present time. I understand what his thinking is, but we’re not accountants and we don’t know what the whole issue is and we have to wait and see.”

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An overspend from Red Bull would put another black mark against Verstappen’s maiden world title, which was already tainted by the controversial finale in Abu Dhabi that saw FIA race director Michael Masi sacked. With the Drivers’ Championship on the line, Hamilton was effectively left a sitting duck when the safety car was called back into the pits with one lap remaining and the Dutchman took his chance in thrilling but contentious fashion.

There is little to argue about Verstappen’s imminent second title, however, as Red Bull have put together a dominant season to see off competition from Ferrari and Mercedes. But Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff still took an opportunity to fire shots at his rival in Singapore last weekend when Horner insisted that his team’s finances were above board.

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